(a) To investigate the utility of childhood PE as a predictor of adolescent psychopathology while accounting for three known risk factors: childhood mental disorder; traumatic experiences and poor childhood functioning, and (b) to investigate the additive effects of including childhood PE in predictive clinical model of adolescent psychopathology.
The study sample comprised of 86 Irish youths who completed two waves of the “Adolescent Brain Development” study (baseline age: 11.7 and follow‐up age: 15.7). At baseline, participants completed a clinical interview assessing for PE, mental disorders, traumatic experiences and global functioning in childhood. The internalizing and externalizing problems sub‐scales from the Youth Self Report questionnaire were used as follow‐up outcomes variables in adolescence.
Logistic regression analyses revealed that childhood PE was the only predictor significantly associated with both internalizing (univariate OR: 7.58, CI: 2.59‐22.15; multivariate OR: 5.43, CI: 1.53‐19.29) and externalizing (univariate OR: 11.76, CI: 3.70‐37.41; multivariate OR: 30.39, CI: 5.28‐174.80) problems in adolescence. All predictive models with PE significantly predicted adolescent outcomes (area under the curve range: 0.70‐0.81; all P < 0.05) and adding PE to the models improved the predictive value for externalizing problems (P = 0.02).
Childhood PE is a powerful predictor of adolescent psychopathology, particularly for externalizing problems. Routine assessment of PE and targeted support for children who report PE may reduce the incidence of mental disorder in adolescence.